tv 60 Minutes CBS September 9, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> pelly: who shot osama bin laden. tonight for the first time, you will hear his account of the raid on bin laden's compound. are these guys yelling and charging up the stairs? is there a lot of action? how is it unfolding? >> you know, it's not like the movies. movies make it out to be loud and crazy and everybody's yelling. quiet, calm. >> pelly: you're walking up the stairs? >> yep, nice and slow. we have a saying, "don't run to your death." >> pelly: it's extremely rare to hear from a member of seal team six, but mark owen walks us through the most important counter-terrorism strike in u.s.
history, including the moment that osama bin laden was killed. >> we both engaged him several more times and then rolled off and then continued clearing the room. >> pelly: when you say you "engaged him," what do you mean? >> fire. >> pelly: you shot him? >> yeah. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm lara logan. >> i'm scott pelley. that story tonight on "60 minutes." ♪
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we test-drove the camry, took it on the freeway, and it was just like -- this was the car for me. [ ryan ] it has stuff that guys like, like the rims and the sleekness to the body. and, then, had the bluetooth and the navigation that diana really wanted. [ diana ] and it was a sport edition, so it felt really grounded to the ground. [ man ] grounded to the ground? yes, yes! grounded to the ground. [ male announcer ] see their story and more at the camry effect. camry. from toyota. >> pelley: you are about to meet one of the men who shot osama bin laden.
mark owen recently left the navy's elite counter-terrorism unit, seal team six. "mark owen" is not his real name. it is the name that he used to write a new book about the assault on bin laden's compound called "no easy day." owen was on the helicopter that crashed into the compound. he was the second man in bin laden's bedroom. and he took the pictures of the body that the world has never seen. owen received a silver star for valor and a purple heart for a wound suffered in the raid. but despite all that, owen told us, in his only interview, that "no easy day" is not about him. he says it's a tribute to the hundreds of americans who gathered intelligence, planned and trained in the ten-year pursuit of the world's most wanted man. seal team six, he told us, just took care of the last 40 minutes. was this a mission... was the plan to kill osama bin laden or
capture him, before you went in? >> mark owen: this was absolutely not a kill-only mission. it was made very clear to us throughout our... our training for this that, "hey, if given the opportunity, this is... this is not an assassination. you will capture him alive, if... if feasible." >> pelley: that was the preferred thing? >> owen: yes. >> pelley: to take him alive, if you could? >> owen: yeah, yeah. i mean, we're not... we're not there to assassinate somebody. we weren't sent in to... to murder him. this was, "hey, kill or capture." >> pelley: we've never heard the story from someone who was there. the raid, may 1, 2011, had been years in the making. but in the moment, the best-laid plans failed, leaving a small team of americans to improvise victory from near disaster. >> owen: this operation was one of the most significant operations in u.s. history. and it's something that i believe deserves to be told
right and deserves to... to go in a book and stand for itself. >> pelley: you're in disguise as we do this interview today, and i wonder why. >> owen: the focus shouldn't be on me; the focus should be on the book. i'm not trying to be special or... or a hero or anything. i'm just trying to tell the bigger story >> pelley: but you're in disguise also for your own security? >> owen: yeah, absolutely. >> pelley: tell me about that. what concerns you? >> owen: you know, the enemy has a long memory. >> pelley: and so we spent a long time perfecting a new look for owen. before each interview, the best artists spent four hours thoroughly changing his appearance. we've used shadows to enhance the effect and we've altered his voice. chief petty officer owen was in the navy 14 years. he had read about the seals in junior high school and set his sights. how many times have you been to war since 9/11? >> owen: i've done 13 combat deployments. >> pelley: afghanistan? >> owen: afghanistan, iraq, all over. >> pelley: there are several
seal teams, but owen rose to the very top, a unit called the naval special warfare development group-- seal team six. seal team six is made up of a number of squadrons, and i wonder, why was your squadron chosen for this particular mission? was there something special about you? >> owen: nope, nope. certainly, nothing special about me, nothing special about the 24 guys that were chosen, nothing special about the... our squadron. it really could have been any number of guys >> pelley: you just happened to be available for training. >> owen: yes. >> pelley: in april, 2011, they'd just returned from afghanistan when they were told to report to north carolina for an exercise. owen walked into a top secret briefing room, saw a model of a compound, and heard this from his buddies. what'd they say? >> owen: said, "hey, we found bin laden," or, "we think we found bin laden." and they want us to... to come up, you know, rehearse and come up with a plan.
if there's gonna be a ground option approved, they want us to rehearse for one. >> pelley: what did you think? >> owen: "awesome." >> pelley: the mission was "operation neptune spear" under the authority of the c.i.a. the agency had tracked a bin laden courier to a curious compound in abbottabad, pakistan. they'd been watching the compound with satellites. the house seemed too big for the neighborhood. there was no phone connection. the people there burned their trash. there was a wall 12 feet high, and a walled-in balcony. who lived up there? >> owen: they briefed us on the individual they were calling "the pacer." >> pelley: "the pacer"? >> owen: the pacer. so he'd come out of the house and walk around the yard, what was assessed as just kind of getting exercise. >> pelley: where did the pacer pace? >> owen: over here. >> pelley: in this courtyard back here? >> owen: right. so, he'd just kind of walk out in here.
and a lot of the... the vegetation out here was probably purposely planted so surveillance couldn't... couldn't see down on them. >> pelley: and he'd just go 'round and 'round and 'round. >> owen: yup. he'd walk around the yard. sometimes he'd walk with... with what they assessed to be a female, but, yeah, the... they just walked around the yard. they never stopped to help anybody do any work. if there was other people in the yard working, he never seemed to do any of that. it's above... almost above it. >> pelley: above doing the manual labor. he was the boss, whoever he was? >> owen: right. >> pelley: the pacer had been in abbottabad about five years. it's a well-to-do city of one million people. the compound was about a mile from the pakistani military academy. in terms of the inside of the house, how much did you know? >> owen: zero. zero. >> pelley: so once you went through the door, you didn't know what you were going to be facing? >> owen: right. but, again, it goes back to that years of experience. i mean, we've done this a million times. >> pelley: raids like this were common many nights in afghanistan and iraq. and looking at the model, the seals didn't think of this as challenging.
the tricky part was getting there. the u.s. wasn't telling pakistan, so the helicopters could be shot down by pakistan's modern air defenses. the pilots were from the army's 160th special operations aviation regiment. two modified blackhawks-- call signs "chalk one" and "chalk two"-- would drop 24 seals and a belgian malinois combat dog named cairo. >> owen: chalk one, which is the one i was on, was going to hover over the compound here. we would drop the two fast ropes, slide down the ropes into the courtyard here, and then go about our business while chalk two would land out here, just over here by the road. drop the external containment team off. they would provide security external. we'd have a... two men and our... our combat assault dog would do a quick patrol of the perimeter down to the south and around to make sure that there
was no tunnels underneath the wall, if somebody did hear us come in and had time to escape. after dropping those guys off, the second helo was going to come up, hover over the third floor, drop off the remaining guys. they would then hop right down into the balcony, assaulting from the top down, and our guys would assault from the bottom up. >> pelley: a few days after getting the mission, they had their plan, and so began weeks of rehearsals on a full-size version of the compound built in north carolina. how many times did you assault it? how many times did you train on it? >> owen: a lot. between when we got the mission and when we left for afghanistan, we probably, you know, get... probably get 100 times. >> pelley: so how unusual was this kind of training? >> owen: it's... yeah, very unusual. i've never... i've never had all the mock-ups. i've never rehearsed for something for three weeks. >> pelley: one rehearsal had an audience-- the nation's highest ranking officer, admiral mike mullen, chairman of the joint
chiefs; the head of special operations, admiral eric olson; and observers from the white house. >> owen: one of the things i like after the fact was, i remember admiral mullen coming by and talking to each one of us, and then admiral olsen as well. and i thought that was cool that, you know, they walked by, shook each of our hands and said, "hey, are you guys ready? can you guys pull this off?" and i'm pretty sure, to a man, we all said, "yes, absolutely." >> pelley: the team got several days off at home around easter. then, in late april, about a month after they got the mission, they loaded on a plane bound for a u.s. base in afghanistan. the president wasn't convinced yet. no one confirmed that bin laden was "the pacer," so seal team six was on stand-by. one of the passengers on their plane was a c.i.a. analyst who had spent five years on bin laden's trail. >> owen: i can't give her enough credit. i mean, she... in my opinion, she kind of teed up this whole thing, and is just, you know,
wicked smart, kind of feisty. and she was... you know, we'd always talk back and forth, "hey, what.. you know, what do you think the odds of this are? what do you think the odds of that are," you know? and, "hey, you know, what you do think? think he's there?" she's like, "100%. 100% he's there." >> pelley: and you thought what? >> owen: well, we'll see. >> pelley: three days later, on april 30, the president was telling jokes at the annual white house correspondents' dinner. c.i.a. director leon panetta's belly laugh was heard all across the room. reporters in ball gowns and tuxedos had no idea that, just a few hours before, president obama had ordered panetta to launch the raid. mr. obama kept to his schedule, thinking that, on this night, it was better to have reporters drinking and laughing than asking questions. when did you first hear that the president had approved your mission? >> owen: the commanding officer of our... our command walked in and said, "hey, just got off the phone. the mission's approved."
>> pelley: what did you think? >> owen: "this is big. this is cool. i'm glad i'm a part of it." >> pelley: the raid was supposed to be april 30, but the weather was bad. the next night, vice admiral william mcraven saw the men off. he was a seal, and he had planned the mission as head of the joint special operations command. just before midnight, the blackhawks started the sprint from the u.s. base in jalalabad, afghanistan, to abbottabad, about 150 miles away. the helicopters were blacked out against a clear, moonless night. the army pilots, guided by night vision goggles, flew high speed, treetop level, under pakistani radar. >> owen: it was roughly an hour and a half. i remember... you know, we took off, shut the doors, and... and the radio call i heard was... you know, "hey, we're... we're over the border. we're crossing the border into pakistan." and i remember thinking, "wow, this is... okay, this is happening."
and... and i swear, i glance around the helicopter and... and half the guys are sitting there asleep on the ride in. it was an hour and a half ride, so guys got to catch... catch a few zs on the way in. >> pelley: wait a minute. your team is flying in to osama bin laden's compound, and they're asleep? >> owen: yeah, no, it's your... it's your time to just kind of shut your eyes, relax, you know? mentally walk through whatever you need to walk through. >> pelley: it was about 1:00 in the morning, 66 degrees, 65% humidity, with calm winds. >> owen: at one minute, we open the door, and i just kind of swung my legs out and i'm sitting there looking down. i'm thinking, "wow, you know, this is a beautiful... this is a beautiful spot-- houses with pools in the backyard, well lit... manicured yards." like, wow, this is definitely not, you know, the mud huts of afghanistan. >> pelley: somehow, there was a blackout in the neighborhood. no one will say whether that was luck or design, but it meant ideal darkness for the seals
with their night vision goggles. >> pelley: you could see the compound coming? >> owen: uh-huh. >> pelley: you had the door to the blackhawk open? >> owen: uh-huh. >> pelley: and your legs were swung outside? >> owen: right. just make a little more room, be faster to... you know, quicker for everybody to get out and fast-rope out of the helicopter. so everybody's getting ready to fast-rope. and then, all of a sudden, we banked hard 90 degrees, and then we... once we went hard 90, it was very apparent that some... something was wrong. >> pelley: owen doesn't know what went wrong, but pilots say that a chopper can lose lift when it drops into the turbulence of its own downdraft. and the turbulence would have been much worse because the downdraft was being magnified and reflected by the compound's walls. >> owen: these pilots are the best in the world. you don't... you don't get better than these guys. and... and typically, they just, boom, they move right in and they stick it. it... it was like parking a car for these guys. and it was... it was a rough... it was a rough ride we were pretty low, tail rotor
and everything happened to miss this wall here, and then we were just kind of sliding and falling out of the sky this way. i was now in the front of the helicopter-- although i was sitting on the left side, i was now the front. my buddy right behind me, he pretty much should have fallen out. if it weren't for him hanging on to me, there is a good chance i would have been thrown from the helicopter. >> pelley: as the helicopter is going down, what were you thinking? >> owen: "this is going to suck," you know. "hey, wow." >> pelley: the carefully rehearsed plan was out the window before the first boot hit the ground. with one helicopter and half the seals crashing, the second helicopter abandoned the roof assault as too risky and the seals began to improvise. one thing was sure now: the people in the house knew they were coming. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by:. >> glor: good evening. wall street is eyeing the fed,
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>> pelley: the raid on bin laden's house was supposed to be straightforward. two helicopters, call signs "chalk one" and "chalk two," carried 24 members of seal team six, each man hauling 60 pounds of gear. one group planned to slide down ropes onto the roof of the house. mark owen's group planned to rope down into the courtyard. but owen's helicopter crashed, and now everything was changing for the most important counter- terrorism assault in u.s. history. tell me about the crash. >> owen: the pilot mentioned... you know, i remember him mentioning in the rehearsals,
like, "you know, if i have to ditch this thing, i'm going to try and put it down in this courtyard." so that... that's exactly what he did, you know? you can tell what he did, you could hear the helicopter winding up. >> pelley: he was putting all the power he could on it, but it wasn't helping. >> owen: no, nothing. came in and impacted-- boom. had the angle been more, the rotors would've hit the ground, snapped off, and caused us to roll. had the tail rotor hit, obviously, it would've broke and caused us to break and roll. the load-bearing section of the tail landed precisely on the wall. >> pelley: the strongest part of the tail just happened to land on the wall? >> owen: yep. and the angle happened to be perfect. it all came down to inches-- really, inches either way. we stopped. the main rotor blades are still turning. i don't think you could recreate that if you tried. >> pelley: lucky. >> owen: lucky, but again, huge props to these pilots. i mean, everybody wants to meet the guy who shot bin laden. i want to meet the pilot. i mean, i wouldn't be here if it weren't for him. >> pelley: if the pilot had not brought your helicopter down intact, would the mission have
failed? >> owen: no, i don't think so, because chalk... chalk two was on the ground. and as soon as they saw us crash land, that chalk two helicopter pilot saw that happen, decided not to push the position to go to the roof. and that's one thing that admiral mcraven said in one of our very last rehearsals, briefs, dry runs, right there in afghanistan before we launched. he stood up and he said, "hey listen, don't try any fancy stuff. just get the guys on the ground and they'll figure it out. >> pelley: you mention in the book that one of the army pilots that was flying your team looked to you to be about 50 years old? >> owen: he was definitely a little older. >> pelley: but i guess, in this line of work, it's experience that matters. >> owen: yeah. yeah. he's probably been flying longer than i've been alive. so there's nothing wrong with that. >> pelley: they had planned to be on the ground 30 minutes, but now, they were running late. owen's team landed in this courtyard walled off from the house. so, your team does what? >> owen: i ran out here. i turn around and look, and i see the guys on the left side of the helicopter.
they're sitting right at... staring at the front door. so, they simply hop out and go right to the front door like nothing happened. >> pelley: go right to this door here? >> owen: yep. >> pelley: the other helicopter landed outside the perimeter wall, dropped all of its seals, and took off. now, what's your objective? what's your team supposed to do right now? >> owen: we were securing and clearing the southern compound >> pelley: you expect to find people in this building? and you want to clear that building so the rest of the team can do what they need to do in here? >> owen: exactly. >> owen: i think what... what seals are good at is... is what i consider pickup basketball. we all know how to play the game. you know, our... you hear the saying in the team says, "can you shoot, move, and communicate?" so, we all know how to shoot. we all know how to move efficiently and... and tactically. and we can communicate clearly. so, when something goes sideways, we're able to play the pickup basketball and just kind of read off each other. >> pelley: now, the seals were in several groups. one group was outside the perimeter wall to make sure no one escaped. the group that was supposed to rope to the roof was outside the wall looking for a way in.
owen led his team to the outer building where they expected to find one of bin laden's couriers. >> owen: we got to the door. obviously, we made tons of noise at this point. it had taken a little longer to get there. so, you know, the element of surprise is... is slipping away quickly. and we got to the... the double doors. i tried it once real quick. it was locked. my buddy was with me. he's carrying a sledgehammer, pulls it out, gives it a couple good swings, nothing. door's not going anywhere, kind of solid metal. so i'm like, "okay, we're going explosive." they all carry explosive charges. i... i pulled one off, got on my knee, and started setting it. and... and right as i was attaching it, a round started coming through the door at us. >> pelley: somebody started shooting at you from inside the house? and the... and the bullets were coming through the door? >> owen: yep, yep. immediately, my buddy who was... who was standing up started returning fire. i could... yeah, i kind of rolled away from the door, blindly returned fire back through.
you couldn't see what was on the other side. and then it went quiet. thankfully, the seal that was there with me that... initially returned fire with me... spoke arabic. so he immediately started calling out to the people inside, started hearing the metal latch on the inside of the door. are they going to come out with a suicide vest? are they going to throw a hand grenade out? are they going to, you know, spray their a.k.? door opens up, a female holding a kid, couple kids right behind her. >> pelley: you got your finger on your trigger, and you're looking at a woman with her children. >> owen: yeah, yeah. split second. i mean, we had just received fire. my buddy's speaking arabic, and... he's asking her, you know, "hey... where's your husband? what's going on?" and she replies back to him, "he's dead. you shot him." owen didn't notice until later, but he was bleeding, a shoulder wound from a fragment of something in the firefight. >> owen: yeah, i just got a little piece of frag in my shoulder from some of the rounds that came through. i carry a set of bolt cutters to cut locks with. when i got back, you know, i was checking my gear, seeing if there's any holes or anything,
and... and i pull out the bolt cutters, and i've got the bullet stuck in the handle. so, the bullet just... just missed me by a little bit, and the handles stick up either side of my head. >> pelley: right by your neck. but you don't consider that to be a big deal? >> owen: no, plenty of other guys have suffered much, much worse, so it's not a big deal. >> pelley: within five minutes, owen's team cleared the outer house. more seals entered the compound and converged on the first floor of the main building. inside they found another courier with an assault rifle. those seals were in the process of shooting the second gunman? >> owen: right. >> pelley: and his wife jumped in front of him? >> owen: all the women on target were very hostile. it's something very different than what we see in afghanistan or iraq. you typically don't see the women that are this aggressive and hostile. even though the females had come out of this building and talked to us, they were still very combative and aggressive. and we saw that throughout the entire
compound, even all the way up on the third floor. >> pelley: they secured the ground floor and then the second floor. the team continued to head up these stairs, single file. the first seal in line is called the "point man." owen, at this point, says he was right behind him, number two going up to the third floor. the seals had been told to expect one of osama bin laden's sons. >> guys start making their way up the stairs, and... it's quiet. it's pitch black in the house. no... no lights. all night vision. get to the second floor, intel had said, "hey, we think that khalid, his son, lives on the second floor. >> pelley: this is osama bin laden's son? >> owen: yeah. the guy in front of me, who's point man, he sees the head pop out and disappear really quick around the corner. he's like, "okay, you know, what... who is it? what do you think?" "yeah, i don't... i don't know." he literally whispers... not... not amped up, not yelling, not anything. he whispers "hey, khalid. khalid." he whispers khalid's name, doesn't know if it's khalid or
not. khalid literally looks back around the... around the edge of the... the hall. and he shoots him. what was khalid thinking at that time? look around the corner. you know, curiosity killed the cat. i guess khalid, too. >> pelley: it had been 15 minutes since the crash. it was now about 1:15 a.m. give me a sense of what this scene is like in there? i mean, are these guys yelling and charging up the stairs? is there a lot of action? how is it unfolding? >> owen: you know, it's... it's not like the movies. movies make it out to be, you know, loud and... and crazy and everybody's yelling. it's... this is what we do. we're really good at it. and so it's quiet and calm, like we've done it... done it a million times before. we have a saying, you know, "don't... don't run to your death." so nice and slow and we head up the stairs. >> pelley: khalid is dead on this landing.
the point man is stepping past khalid. and now, you're number two in the stack. you're right behind the point man? >> owen: yep. i'm kind of trying to look around him, hear him take a couple shots. kind of see a head... somebody disappear back into the room. >> pelley: the point man had seen someone stick his head out a door and shot him just the way he'd shot khalid. >> owen: yup. >> pelley: what did you do then? >> owen: inside the room, i could see a body laying on the ground. over him was... was two females, real close to the door. they looked up and saw the... saw the point man. he steps into the room, literally rushes the two women, grabs one under each arm and pushes them back against the far wall. so if they did have a suicide vest on and they did blow themselves up that they wouldn't... that that wouldn't affect the rest of the guys. >> pelley: but it would have killed him. >> owen: yeah. >> pelley: you stepped into the room and saw the man lying on the floor? what did you do? >> owen: myself and the next assaulter in, we both engaged
him several more times and then rolled off and then continued clearing the room. >> pelley: when you say you engaged him, what do you mean? >> owen: fired. >> pelley: you shot him? >> owen: yeah. >> pelley: he's still moving? >> owen: a little... a little bit. but you couldn't see his arms, couldn't see his hands. so, he could've had something. could've had a hand grenade or something underneath his chest. >> pelley: so after osama bin laden is... is wounded, he's still moving. you shot him twice? >> owen: a handful of times. >> pelley: a handful of times, and the seal in the stack behind you also shot osama bin laden. and at that point, his body was still? >> owen: yes. >> pelley: did you recognize him? >> owen: nope. you know, everybody thinks it was, like, you know it's him. no. to us, at that time, it could have been anybody. maybe this was another brother. maybe this is a bodyguard. maybe it doesn't matter. the point is to just continue clearing. >> pelley: by now, 20 minutes had passed. every single thing the woman with the c.i.a. had told them on the plane had been right, but time was running out.
throughout the raid, the remaining helicopter was in the air. it only had enough gas to stay for 30 minutes or so. pakistani neighbors had discovered the seals posted outside the compound wall, and it couldn't be long before the pakistani military would know they were there. one seal was charged with keeping an eye on his wristwatch and calling out the dwindling time on the radio, "20 minutes, 15, ten..." we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] the lenscrafters semi-annual sale. ♪ we see 50% off lenses. ♪ you see a sale you can't miss. lenscrafters. hurry in. sale ends september 9th. lenscrafters. mid-grade dark roast forest fresh full tank brain freeze cake donettes rolling hot dogs bag of ice anti-freeze wash and dry diesel self-serve fix a flat jumper cables 5% cashback
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the third floor of the house in abbottabad, pakistan. everything the c.i.a. analyst told them about the raid on osama bin laden's house had checked out exactly as she said. but was this bin laden? >> owen: in my mind, he looked way younger than i thought he was going to be. his beard wasn't gray at all. you know, i'd studied lot... lots of photos of him, and, you know, they were always gray. his beard was... was dark black. identifiably, he was very tall. so, okay, you know, you can kind of chalk that up as something. >> pelley: bin laden was about 6-foot-4. >> owen: right. his nose to me was something that i could... i could kind of identify. so, you know, kind of looking at the profile shots and everything, i was like, okay, i was... i was pretty sure that was him. but, you know, i'm not willing to make that call, certainly not at that point. >> pelley: not willing because owen says t hey suspected the president was listening at the white house, and he was right. the helicopter crash had been
reported up the chain of command. owen says the seals wanted proof before anyone said anything on the radio about killing osama bin laden. they turned to one of the seals in the room who spoke arabic. >> owen: so he moved out to where the women and kids were, grabs one of the... the younger kids, says, "hey, who... who is that inside?" she says, "osama." "osama who?" "osama bin laden." >> pelley: the child? >> owen: the child. >> pelley: identified him? >> owen: yep. grabbed one of the females, again asked her, "hey, who is that?" she said, "osama bin laden." >> pelley: does a cheer go up among the seals? you start shaking hands? patting each other on the back? >> owen: not... nothing. it's all... all business. we're on the clock here. so, we call up the commanding officer. he comes upstairs, looks at the body. we give him what we have so far of "hey, here's what he looks like, take a look. he's tall. woman and kid confirm it." he took one look, he said, "okay, i think that's him." >> pelley: the commander used the code word for bin laden, geronimo, as he passed the message to admiral mcraven.
"for god and country," he said, "i pass geronimo." "geronimo e.k.i.a.,' which stands for "enemy killed in action." 20 minutes had passed, ten minutes left on the schedule. >> owen: we wanted to collect d.n.a. samples, we wanted to take photographs of him, and then we wanted duplicate copies of that. so obviously we're taking the body out. but if a helicopter got shot down on the way out and it had the body, we wanted the other helicopter to have d.n.a. and photos so they'd have some sort of evidence that said, "hey, we do have him and here it is." >> pelley: you wanted duplicates of everything? >> owen: yeah, just in case. >> pelley: you thought of everything. >> owen: we tried. >> pelley: one seal took blood and saliva samples. owen took the pictures. >> owen: i figured these were the... probably some of the most important photos i'd ever take in my life. so, you know, make sure i do it right, get good angles and... and all this other stuff. but, you know, you've got to clean off the face, so you... there's... identifiable as
possible. so one of my buddies had a camelback with... with some water in it. got some, you know... spread some water on him, took a sheet off the bed, kind of wiped the blood off and then took photos. >> pelley: wiping the blood off of osama bin laden's face? camelback is one of those backpacks that has a water bladder in it, and you use it to drink water out of. but you used it to wash his face? and you shot pictures of his face in a profile. can you describe what they look like? >> owen: they're pretty gruesome. >> pelley: well, when you say "gruesome," what are we talking about? >> owen: he had bullet wound in the head, so that gruesome. >> pelley: two seals took the body downstairs and zipped bin laden into a bag. in the bedroom, owen found an assault rifle and a pistol on a shelf. >> owen: and some people would argue that, you know, why did that point man take those shots? well, immediately, the first door we went to, my team was engaged by enemy fire through
the door. so automatically, we... we know we're going into an enemy compound, shots being fired back at us immediately. a.k. found next to khalid on the stairs. all those boxes have been checked that if a guy sticks his head around the corner, he very easily could have a gun. you don't wait to get that a.k. or the... the grenade thrown down the hall or the suicide vest. so in the split second, that's when he engaged. >> pelley: he did have a gun, but he didn't use it. and i wonder what you make of that? >> owen: i think, in the end, he taught a lot of people to do... you know, martyr themselves and... and... he masterminded the 9/11 attacks. but in the end, he wasn't even willing to roger up himself with a gun and... and put up a fight. so i think that speaks for itself. >> pelley: back on the second floor, the seals were grabbing computers, disks, flash drives, videotapes, more priceless
intelligence than they could carry. >> owen: there was so much stuff in this house. >> pelley: the guys are just stuffing this stuff in garbage bags? >> owen: we had carried bags with us, but we filled all these bags up. so you just find some... you know, an old gym bag on target, dump out whatever's in it and... and... and use that. you know, as we were running out, i look over at my buddy. he's got a bag of stuff in one hand, like, you know, santa claus running out of there. a bag full of goodies in one hand that he had collected and a computer terminal in the other. >> pelley: the plan had been to be on the ground for 30 minutes, but now they were a few minutes late. it was after 1:30 am. >> owen: now things are starting to pick up outside. people have obviously woken up at this point. they're... they're coming over to investigate what's going on. they were the neighbors, and they had a lot of questions for the seals standing guard outside the wall. so that's where things could get real dynamic for that team outside. everybody wants to know what was going on inside. that team had way more responsibility than just about
anybody else because they were dealing with all the what-ifs outside. what if the police showed up or the military? we were running out of time. we've got to get going. there's neighbors approaching. the interpreter that was out here said, "hey, there's a police operation going on here, go back to your homes," and they'd simply go back away. >> pelley: among the unfinished business was the crashed helicopter. it was a secret design, loaded with secret gear. they had to blow it up. a message was passed to their explosives expert, called the e.o.d. man. "prep it to blow," they said, but the "it" in the message was a little vague. >> owen: well, the e.o.d. guy thinks he means prep the house to blow. so there we are in the middle of this, and he's like, "okay, roger that, prep it to blow." so he's running around the first floor of the house, setting his charges, getting ready to blow up the house. and somebody looks over at him like, "dude, dude, what are you doing?" he's like, "ah, i'm prepping it to blow." he's like, "not... not the
house, the helicopter." well, he hadn't got the word that there was a helicopter even down. he's like, "what helicopter?" he's like, "the one in the courtyard. go take a look." so he runs outside, sees the helicopter, and then... and then they proceed to... to rig it to blow. >> pelley: it was past time to go. two large helicopters called ch- 47s, filled with reinforcements and fuel, had been standing by during the raid. the remaining black hawk would return for half the seals; a ch- 47 would pick up the rest. >> owen: the black hawk that's picking us up lands first. we run through the field, carrying the body in the body bag, load the... the remaining black hawk, and then we slowly lift off and move away. while they're waiting for the 47 to come in, the timer on the charges is... is ticking down. >> pelley: the explosion on this helicopter is coming. how much time have they got? >> owen: not much left. >> pelley: minutes? >> owen: they're under 30 seconds. they're running down.
the team leader in charge of the demo team, gets a hold of the commanding officer, gets him on the radio talking to the 47. tells the 47 to do a go around. as he's doing the... the go around to the south, boom, the charge goes. our black hawk's already gone. this explodes. big... big huge explosion. the 47 comes right back around, lands. the guys load on, and now they're airborne and we're done. we're clean from the target. >> pelley: that glow at the compound was the helicopter on fire. the seals were on the ground 38 minutes, which meant their black hawk had been in the air, waiting a little longer than planned. >> owen: sure enough, i'm sitting in the helicopter, and i turn around and look in the cockpit. i see flashing red lights. well, i'm not a pilot, but anything flashing red in... in a vehicle is typically not good. it was gas gauges. we're about to run out of fuel.
>> pelley: during their escape, the seals were forced to land in pakistan. one of the ch-47s was waiting on the ground and refueled their black hawk. >> pelley: the pakistanis didn't get you on the way in, but you're concerned they're going to get you on the way out? >> owen: sure. we've got to get out of here. >> pelley: when did you know that you were out of pakistan? >> owen: they radioed over. came on over the radio said, "hey, we're back... we're back in afghanistan." >> pelley: and you thought what? >> owen: big sigh of relief, and, "wow, we might have actually pulled this off. this is crazy." >> pelley: was there ever a point, mark, in which you shook hands with each other, slapped each other on the back? >> owen: yeah, once we landed. everybody kind of hugged and high-fived and took a couple photos. and, you know, it was our... our five-minute "hey, cool, we pulled this off, good job," and then it was back to work. >> pelley: in his book, owen describes how they loaded the body onto a pickup truck and brought it to a hangar where vice admiral mcraven, head of joint special operations command, was waiting. they unzipped the bag.
standing nearby was that c.i.a. analyst who had spent years on bin laden's trail. >> pelley: miss 100%, the woman who told you that she was 100% certain that they had osama bin laden? >> owen: right. so we're all in the hangar. immediately, we saw her, and, you know, she started crying. and it was a pretty significant event in her life, i'm sure. >> pelley: six hours later, the president announced it to the world. >> president obama: tonight, i can report to the american people and to the world that united states has conducted an operation that has killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. >> owen: yeah, we watched it live. it was... they had some tvs set up in the hangar that we were at. and... literally still in your... in your camouflage uniform, our gear kind of set to the side, and... and we heard it was coming on. we went and gathered around and watched the address. >> pelley: what did you think? >> owen: now the world knows that we've got him.
>> pelley: when you landed back in the united states, what did you think of all the media coverage? >> owen: it was all surreal because, you know, this had all been so hush-hush leading up to it. we went and did it, and now it was the biggest news story ever. we got on a bus. they drove us back to work. i didn't even go in. they told us we had a couple days off. and i grabbed my keys, went and got in my truck, and... you know, i put it in the book. but, you know, i hit taco bell on the way home, hit the drive- thru, a couple tacos. and... you know, ate it in my car right there and then, and then drove home. >> pelley: you were part of the team that killed osama bin laden, and the first thing you do when you get back to the united states is go to taco bell? >> owen: two tacos and a bean burrito. it's routine. >> pelley: life has been anything but routine for mark owen since the publication of his book was announced. we'll have that when we come back.
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from the raid in abbotabad, pakistan, mark owen's squadron boarded an ancient c-130 transport plane for one more mission. the men wondered why the plane was so old. then they found out the plane had been used in 1980 in the failed attempt to rescue the american hostages in iran. somebody thought it was a fitting piece of american history to carry the men to their secret meeting with the president of the united states. >> obama: the terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9/11 will never threaten america again. >> pelley: president obama was making a speech at fort campbell, kentucky, and he met with the bin laden team privately. all of the men would receive a silver star for valor. did the president ask you guys which ones of you had shot osama bin laden? >> owen: yeah. he asked... he asked who... who was the one, and... and we told him we wouldn't tell >> pelley: you wouldn't tell him? why not? >> owen: pulling a trigger's easy, you know, a couple pounds of pressure on your trigger
finger. and i've done it millions of times, and... and it's not that hard, you know. so it's not about who that one person was. it's about the team, or... the helicopter pilots, or the... the intel folks that teed this whole thing up. who cares who the one person is? doesn't matter. >> pelley: i wonder, in writing this book, whether you're worried that some of your fellow seals will be angry with you? >> owen: i've had nothing but an outpouring of support from the guys who know me. to quote one of my friends, he said, "hey, if anybody can tell this story and do it right, it's you." and i'm not taking that and trying to toot my own horn. they know i'm doing it right. >> pelley: you say in the preface to the book that if a reader is looking for secrets, this isn't their book. >> owen: absolutely not. i'm not talking secrets, i'm not talking tactics. i don't even get into any of that stuff. but i really try and give the reader a sense of... of what it's like to be... to be there. >> pelley: publicly, the pentagon is not happy about "no easy day." they have a differing account of
bin laden's final minutes, saying he that he was first shot when the seals were inside his bedroom. spokesman george little said last week that owen signed a secrecy agreement as a seal and should've submitted his book for editing by the government. >> little: the author is in material breach of his secrecy agreements with the united states government. we believe that sensitive and classified information is contained in the book. i don't think i could be any clearer than that >> pelley: but owen insists there's nothing in the book that compromises the secrets of the united states or the safety of the seals. and there was one more thing he wanted to say: the release was timed to the anniversary of 9/11. >> owen: my worry from the beginning is, it's a political season. this book is not political whatsoever. it doesn't bad mouth either party, and we specifically... chose september 11th to keep it out of the politics. you know, if these crazies on either side of the aisle want to
make it political, shame on them. >> pelley: the bin laden raid was mark owen's last. a few months later, he went to new york and saw ground zero for the first time. >> owen: our team played a small little piece. some people would argue bigger. but, you know, to us, it's very... we were just doing our jobs. not a big deal. we were just lucky to be at the right place at the right time. but then, going to new york and... and where the world trade center stood at one point, and it was... it's just very, very emotional. >> pelley: nearly 3,000 people were killed right there alone. >> owen: it was emotional. it was like, you know what? i'm just ready to move on. full circle. >> pelley: your team had avenged those deaths. >> owen: absolutely. >> pelley: when word of the book, "no easy day," came out last month, a cable news channel learned mark owen's real name and reported it. since then, others have reported his name. we will not.
owen intends to donate most of the profits from the book to charities that support families of fallen troops. he wanted us to know that he thinks of what he's written as a public service-- to get the history straight-- and as a tribute to every navy seal, wherever they may be serving tonight. [ female announcer ] wake up with your favorite instant coffee same great taste, now with a great new look that can be ready in a... [ pop! ] ♪ folgers instant coffee the taste you love just got more instant.
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